Friday, July 30, 2004

I have a date

I'd mentioned Together Dating a little while back. After checking them over and talking to the people there I went a head and gave it a shot. I didn't get the hard sell and there was no pressure at all to sign up. The cost was extremely reasonable, unlike the $2500 I sunk into Great Expectations for two years of nothing (if you are thinking of trying them out, don't). In fact, the guy I met with actually suggested I wait a few days. I did and it might have been worth it. Tomorrow I have a date with a lady.

It's just a simple, no strings dinner. The surprising thing was that I got this first referral so fast. It came in the mail yesterday. We're going to meet at a Red, Hot and Blue and see how things go. There's no pressure to make this date more than a meeting and "getting to know you" kinda thing. Together Dating has me confirmed for 8 more referrals of women that they matched me with. With luck one of them will be something special but at worst I'll get out and meet some women. If I end up with a few new friends it'll be a good thing.

Before that, though, I have a baby shower to go to. A co-worker/friend is going to have their first baby something around September. It's funny, a few months ago he took his wife for a cruise vacation. There's absolutely no doubt when conception happened for them. The shower is being thrown by one of his long-time friends who also happens to work with us, though in a different group. The friend just had their first baby just a month or two ago.

I remember when my ex was pregnant with our son. There's so many things happening. The most interesting, though, was the number of people who'd start out with the "Oh, that's great" then immediately go into how a friend or family member had some great problem or difficulty with the delivery or pregnancy. It's the same when you tell people that your getting married. They all have to retell some dire event like someone being left at the alter or one fiance cheating on the other before they get hitched. It's like people don't want you to be happy or something. Maybe someday someone should do a study or something.

Anyway, tomorrow promises to be interesting. I'll report back when it's all over. Or maybe I won't. Who knows?

Today sucked!

I made it to work yesterday feeling ok and figured I'd be good for today, so I could at least salvage a bit of the week. No such frelling luck.

I was a complete mess today. Didn't make it out of bed till nearly 1500. I don't know why today was so bad. I was feeling fine, even up to last night. But when the alarm went off this morning I couldn't even get up to turn it off. Had to crawl to the bathroom (thank $DEITY I made it). It's been only now that I've felt up to getting online. Hopefully this weekend I'll be better and able to get some things done. I have a full day for Saturday (see previous entry) and I would like to maybe visit the Thai Buddhist Temple on Sunday. If for no reason than to let Prah Aroon know I'm still alive. Hell, I don't know if he's still assigned there.

Maybe tomorrow will help me make a turn around. I'm really tired of being sick.

Monday, July 26, 2004

Asashoryu, The Michael Schumacher of Sumo

Last weekend Yokozuna Asashoryu won his 4th Yusho (Championship) in 4 tournaments this year (This number corrected by thanks of Jakusotsu). This makes his 8th Yusho overall. Right now he is the only Yokozuna in Sumo, and it doesn't look like there'll be another one any time soon. Asa has dominated Sumo nearly as well as Michael Schumacher has dominated Formula 1.

Asa won the tournament with a 13-2 record. There really wasn't anyone who really pushed him. The current crop of Ozeki (Champion) is not likely to ever reach Yokozuna. Kaio is just to inconsistent. Chiyotaikai just can't beet Kaio or Asa. Musoyama can barely hold onto his Ozeki rank and Tochiazuma? Well, he's been injury prone lately and therefore unpredictable.

Of the young guys there's some potential. The last couple of Basho's have seen some aborted runs at making it into contention. Asasekiryu had an outstanding performance in the 3rd Basho coming in second to the Yokozuna. However, in the 4th he couldn't match the upper ranks and was destroyed. But this time there was a new rising star, Hokutoriki. He ran through the Basho winning against all of the Ozeki and even Asa fell in their first bout. On the last day of the Basho Hokutoriki had a chance to win it all but it seemed like nerves got to him and he lost forcing a playoff match against Asa. Well, toy don't beat the Yokozuna twice in one Basho so Asa took the Emperor's cup. The good showing, though, vaulted Hokutoriki up the ranks going into this last Basho. But, like Asasekiryu before him, he was decimated.

There are still some potential young guns, though. Hakuho seems to be doing very well and is steadily moving up the ranks. A personal favorite of mine is Kokkai. He's a big old Russian, well actually he's from Georgia, who has been turning heads since he's been in Sumo. His one weakness is his lack of technique. He only knows one move, the bull rush. If he hits you with it you're going down. But the more experienced Rikishi have seen this and adjusted accordingly. This last Basho he barley had a winning record. If he can learn some more Sumo he's got a real chance.

Lastly I want to talk about two ex-Ozeki's still plugging away. Miyabiyama and Dejima. About half of the Ozeki's who drop rank will retire, "going out on top" as it were. But some will keep going. They continue in Sumo until they are unable to compete. I kinda like Miyabiyama, though I don't know why. He had a very good Basho this time around so we'll have to see what his rank will be for the next one.

The bottom line, though, is that there are no Rikishi who can give the Yokozuna any kind of real competition. It's fun to watch someone dominate their sport in the way that Asa and Michael have. But unlike F1, Sumo will have a difficult time surviving with this kind of dominance. There must be someone who can take down Asa. Someone to step into the vacant Yokozuna slot. Maybe it's because Sumo is man-to-man, hand-to-hand, one guy fighting another in a circle on a raised mound of clay... It's like a gun fight in the old Westerns of Hollywood. You need a Black hat and a White hat shooting it out on the street. Right now Sumo has one guy standing in the street waiting for someone to step up and challenge him. So far, no one's been able to.

Sunday, July 25, 2004

German GP comments

Another race, another win for Michael Schumacher.

From the outside Formula 1 may look boring, but if you take some time to watch it there's a lot of drama in a race. Early on it looked like there would be a great race for the lead with Kimi Räikkönen really pushing Michael hard. Then, for no reason, his tail wing just disintegrated and off into the wall he went. After that there was no one who could catch Michael. This was his 100th poll and 81st win of his carrier. His 11 wins (in 12 races!) ties his all time record for wins in a season. More impressive is the fact that Ferrari have gone 11 years without a mechanical failure. And this win also moved Ferrari past Ford for the most wins in GP history.

There were some great fights back in the pack. Starting off, poor Rubens Barrichello had some of his (in)famous luck and lost his front wing when he tried, ill advisedly, to make a pass early on and ran into the back of David Coulthard . DC was ok but it knocked Rubens completely out of contention. It also caused him to finish out of the points for the first time this season.

Juan Pablo Montoya started 2nd on the grid but the Renault of Fernando Alonso just blew past him like a rabbit past a turtle. The Williams-BMW really doesn't look good at all but JP is such a good driver he kept it on the track and finished 5th.

The story of the race, though, was Jenson Button. He qualified 3rd just hundreds of seconds behind JP but due to an engine change had to start 13th on the grid. He then proceeded to charge up to 3rd just behind Fernando. They then had one of the more enjoyable battles for position I've seen of late. Jenson made an awesome move on a part of the track that isn't one of the better passing areas and took 2nd.

I was a bit surprised that Takuma Sato was generally MIA this race.

It seems that there's nothing that can stop the Ferrari/Schumacher combination. But the BAR-Honda and Renault teams are trying quite hard. And the sleeper for this second half of the season could end up being McLaren-Mercedes. Despite Kimi's evaporating wing they could be very competitive.

Yeah, if Martians come down and steal Michael's car.

Saturday, July 24, 2004

Movies, movies, movies

The last two Wednesdays I took my son to see some of the new movies. We saw the new "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkband" and "Spiter-man 2". They were both really good, IMO. Both had a bit to much talking for my son but that's not to be unexpected for a 7 year old. Spider-man had some interesting things in it for those of us who grew up reading the comics. It did a decent job of staying with the history and there was some good background setup in there for Spider-Man 3. While Tobey Maguir seems a little bit to whiney for Peter Parker, he still did a good job of showing the tormented side of Spider-Man. As for Harry Potter, I have never read the books but this third movie was really cool. The way it seems to fit together was interesting. And the girl playing Hermione is going to be one hot babe when she gets a bit older. Next on the list of movies to see will be "I, Robot". Maybe we'll see that this coming Wednesday. Or maybe "Thunderbirds". We'll see.

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Music lost in a box

Many years ago, actually 22 years to be specific, I picked up an inexpensive (not cheap) electric guitar and started playing. Things evolved and within 5 years me, my two brothers and my sister had our own band and were playing gigs on Army bases and in German clubs. We were a variety rock band, playing anything from Journey and Pat Benatar to the Scorpions and Black Sabbath. We had also gone into the studio and cut a tape of 10 original songs. We weren't The Next Big Thing<tm> but we weren't bad. Once moving to the States in '88 I didn't have much time to play, but I always figured I'd just pick it back up when life settled down. Well, life never settled down. Marriage, serious career, baby boy... Then in the mid-90's I got Fibromyalgia and playing the guitar became a permanent part of my past.

Fast forward a couplea years and I'm with my brother in a music store. He's working hard to get back into playing, he's a drummer and plays guitar, and trying to work on being a singer. While at the store with him I saw a nice blues harmonica. It hit me, I could play this. So I got one, in the key of G, and started to mess around with it. Mostly I did blues riffs and wild ass improv solos. It was fun and I like it. I'm not worried about being good or anything, just want to keep music in my life. After a while I got more harps; A, C, D and E. Five harmonicas and about $45 each. But it was well worth it.

In the summer of 2003 I moved from the apartment I was in into a house. When the movers came I had done absolutely nothing to get ready. I was pretty much in bed for the days preceding and the day of the move. With the help of my mom they packed everything up and moved me. Lots of stuff ended up randomly packed with lots of other stuff. I still haven't emptied all the boxes but, as you probably guessed, I can't find the harmonicas. That's $225 worth of musical instruments sitting somewhere in a box. Knowing my luck they are in the garage getting all rusted and corroded. Spent a couple of hours today digging through the boxed in there looking for some sign of them. No luck.

Lately I have been thinking of buying one or two again. If I get a G and an E (and maybe a C) I should be covered for the most part if there ever comes a chance to play with my brother or anyone else. Maybe I'll swing by there tomorrow and see what they have in stock.

New face

I'm trying out a new look. I got the basic template, done by maystar, off of BlogSkins and hacked it up a little to fit what I wanted. There's a few little things that still need hacking but they should all be cosmetic (I'm really anal about this kind of stuff). Took me around two hours to get it done. Unfortunately those two hours were from 0400 to 0600. Man, if I ever get back on a "normal" sleep schedule I'll be very happy.

Welcome to Together Dating

Welcome to Together Dating. At least that's what they say.

Since my divorce, or more accurately since my separation, I have been trying out various dating services. I was completely sucked into joining Great Expectations. My advice? Don't. They took about $2500 from me and I got less than nothing from them. I had much better results from the $20-$40 a month on the personals web sites. And I didn't have much luck with them.

Finding someone to go out with on a social date, as opposed to a romantic date, isn't easy. First off, I have little time to spend "going out". Having my son with me takes up all my time and on the alternating weekends he's at him mothers I'm to tired to do anything but the laundry and dishes and shopping and whatever to go out.

Work is not help 'cause the people I work with are 98% male. Of the two women there, one is almost old enough to be my mother and the other is, well, if you can't say something nice about someone you shouldn't say anything. So I'm saying nothing.

The Bar/Club scene isn't an option. With my disability the way it is I'd be lucky if I could spend 3 minutes out before having to go home. Standing is difficult. I'm not as immune to the whole smoke and booze atmosphere as I was 20 years ago.

What else is left? Church would be a potential option but I don't go to church. Social clubs? The only ones I ever belonged to were all tech ones and the only women at these kind of things were the waitresses serving the drinks. How about relatives. There's always someone willing to fix you up with a friend or co-worker. Well, not in this family. Thank $DEITY for that. Are there any other ways to meet someone? Maybe, but I don't know what they are.

While wandering the web one day I ran across this Together Dating site. At first I'm thinking it's just another Great Expectations. "Give us (lots of) money then all you have to do is come in and look at all the books we have filled with pictures." You find someone, attempt to initiate contact and hope that they contact you back." Yeah, right. Not even if I looked like Brad Pitt. But this place promises a different approach. They will do all the matching for you and initiate the introductions. All you have to do is meet the person and see if there is any potential.

Now, they don't do this for free, naturally. And, being the kind of company they are, you won't find a price list on their web site. However, I'm guessing that they aren't looking to suck as much money out of you as they can and run like Great Expectations. OC, I could be wrong. It's an interesting premise, though. I might have to contact them and see what they have. If it doesn't cost an arm and a leg maybe I'll give it a shot. I mean, I really would like to have someone special in my life. Who knows?

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Nearly unbelievable display of athleticism

This post is about Sumo but you don't have to understand anything about it except that the first guy to touch the ground in the ring with anything other than his feet OR is pushed/carried/thrown out of the ring loses.

A few days ago, during day 8 of the Nagoya-basho, Yokozuna (Grant Champion) Asashoryu had a match against Kotonowaka, one of the higher ranked top level rikishi (wrestler). Asa is not only the sole Yokozuna but he's one of the smaller guys competing. However, he is one of (if not the) strongest men in Sumo and his technical ability is way above that of the competition (as demonstrated further on).

The bout took only about 9 seconds (an normal time in Sumo). At the start Koto was able to get a good grip on Asa's Mawashi (loincloth, not diaper!) and did a real impressive job of turning him around. He started a high shoulder throw that actually spun Asa so that his back was to the floor. As they both went down it seemed obvious that Asa was going to lose this bout (he was unbeaten up to this point). But this is where the Yokozuna showed why he is the Yokozuna. Asa did an unbelievable back bridge with only one arm on Koto and his feet just inside the ring. OMG! I couldn't believe my eyes. You can see a video, with some slow-motion replays, at ( is the Sumo video archive site).

It doesn't matter if you like or understand Sumo. Go see this match. You won't believe your eyes either.

Friday, July 16, 2004

It's oh-three-thirty. Why am I still awake?

I'm so damn tired I can barely see but I can't get to sleep. My son is dead-out and when morning comes he'll be whizzing around at 145 kph like normal. I'll never be able to keep up.

It seems that Blogger has a new compose interface. Lots of new formatting features. However it seem that the spell checking doesn't work. That's definitely not a good thing in my case. My spelling prowess, or the lack thereof, is (in)famous around the world. Anyone who's ever received an email from me before good spell checkers came into being knows how truly bad I am at English word spelling. I can probably still tear up German but in the 41 years I've been around spelling English words is something I just can't grep.

$DEITY, I just fell asleep at the "wheel". Dozed off and ended up pressing the space bar for a L-O-N-G time. What a trip.

I'm hungry. I want a snack but don't have any in the house. Well I have Oreo and chocolate/peanut butter chip cookies but no milk. Can't eat the cookies without milk.

Man I wish the spell checker worked. I can still use my workaround, open a compose window in Evolution, type the message there then cut-n-paste it to the Blogger form. Think I'll do that... Ok, now I'm in Evolution. Already found a small handful of words misspelled.

I didn't get an article written for LWN this week, which was disappointing. I'll be working double-time this weekend. I know that they are relying on me for some content as many of their outside writers are on vacation and such.

Oh hell, I fell out again. My snoring woke me up. That's one thing I can claim to be world class in... Snoring. You can hear me from the other side of the house and possibly from outside my bedroom window.

My son is all hooked on a Spider-Man game on his iMac. I need to get a joystick for him. The guy at CompUSA said that all the ones they had there would only work under a Microsoft OS. I think he's full of it as a USB is a USB. But I'm going to check with the Mac store, just in case.

That's enough for tonight. Or should I say this morning?

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Insomnia sucks

I'm sitting here at oh-dark-thirty in a small room with the only light visible coming from my monitor. My son has been happily sleeping for at least 4 hours but I've been wandering around the house looking for something to do.

  • I did a little email answering as well as deleting the 1800+ spam email messages caught by my anti-spam tools
  • Watched a bit of the Tonight Show. Leno had Sharon Stone on and was just drooling all over himself. But then again so was I... Halle Berry will be on tomorrow night so much more drooling is to be expected.
  • Had a small dip of Skoal. Since I was drooling I might as well make use of all that extra saliva.
  • Came back to the computer and fiddled around some more
  • Decided to write this entry

So here I am. Tired as hell as I didn't get to sleep last night till after 0245. I did make it into work today, thank $DEITY. The new meds I got from the doctor on Monday seem to be helping, though I was quite "stoned" all day. Hopefully that will be a minor side effect that will go away after taking it for a while.

I seem to be ready to pass out so I'm off to bed now. I won't get to sleep in much at all as my son will undoubtedly wake me up around 0800 to make him breakfast. I think I'll make pepperoni and eggs tomorrow. It's incredibly good breakfast food. Just throw a bunch of pepperoni slices in a frying pan and cook them for a little bit. Then throw some scrambled eggs in, cook and serve with toast. Mmmm.... Gettin' hungry just thinking about it.

Monday, July 12, 2004

British GP comments

While the results of the race may seem like it was just another Ferrari/Schumacher boring win, the race was anything but boring. I'm really trashed right now so I'll just run down the highlights...

Kimi Raikkonen, who came in 2nd, started from poll with the new MP4-19B McLaren-Mercedes and made a decent go of it in the race. This version of the chassis (they say it's just a slight modification of the MP4-19A but it's truly a new car) really looks good. There's a great opportunity for McLaren to salvage the rest of this season.

This is Michael's 80th win in vintage Michael Schumacher style. When he was able to take the lead he ripped off blazing lap after lap. It's almost unreal the way he can just tear through any circuit and pick up 10 or 15 seconds on cue. Right now the combination of Ferrari and Bridgstone (tires) and Michael is something magical. He's got 100 points in 11 races on the season and there's still 7 races to go. Last year he won the Drivers Championship with 93 points over the entire season.

Rubens Barrichello had another great race. Starting from second he ended up in 3rd place for his 9th podium in 11 races. He's the only driver to score points in every race this season. Michael is winning but Rubens is really doing a great job for the team.

Giancarlo Fisichella, in his Sauber-Petronas, is really turning some heads this season. He started dead last and ended up taking 6th. Over the last couple of races he has been making a habit of starting way back in the grid and climbing his way into points. If it weren't for a bad pit stop he could have had a real chance to take 5th from Juan Pablo Montoya in the Williams-BMW. As a side note, the Willians cars are not performing well this season. It's a credit to JP that he is able to take this car and get points with it.

Then there was the big crash. Jarno Trulli's Renault lost it on lap 40 (of a scheduled 60 laps) and he slammed into the wall hard at an estimated speed of 275 kph (170 mph). After he hit the wall he went into the gravel pit and flopped a couple of times. This was a very bad looking crash but Jarno was completely unhurt. The safety designs in the car did exactly when it was supposed to do. It's amazing what these cars can do.

Lastly, Takuma Sato's BAR-Honda didn't blow out on him. But he finished 11th and was noticeably slower than his teammate Jenson Button, who took a disappointing 4th on his home track. The general censuses is that the team cut back the throttle on his engine. Honda really needs to figure out what's going on with their engines.

Now it's on to Hockenheim and the German Grand Prix. Will Michael and Ferrari continue to dominate? Will Renault be able to push enough horsepower to match the great chassis? In the McLaren MP4-19B the real deal? Can it bring the glory back to the once dominant team? We'll find out in 12 days.

I'm going to bed now.

Thursday, July 08, 2004

Tired and sick

I'm really sick and tired of being sick and tired. After having a few good weeks last month this week just plane sucks. I was a mess on Tuesday but was able to make it into work. Wednesday is my off-day but I ended up in bed almost all day. Today hasn't been much better but it also means another day missed from work. Additionally, I had planned to start going back to Tae Kwon Do this week. The instructors are going to think I'm never coming back. At the rate things are going they might be right.

I got all of my sons TKD equipment over to his mothers so hopefully he'll get to a couple of classes a week. That would be at least something. The fall tournament normally happens the end of October or the beginning of November. Next week the TKD school is closed for summer vacation so the best I can hope for is to try again in two weeks. I don't know how but I do need to get back into going. It helped my health quite a bit and it is a lot of fun. Definitely better than just lying on the couch in front of the TV for hours.

I'm just so damn tired of the constant pain. It's crushing, like a boulder on my back. It's a good thing I'm not feeling well enough to drive, though. If I were I'd probably be out getting cigarettes again. (I've been quit this time for almost three weeks, I think)

French GP comments

Another race, another 10 points for Michael. But this race the Ferrari team had to do some serious work to keep Fernando Alonso and Renault from take the race. It all started out fairly normal. Alonso got the poll with Schumacher in 2nd. At the start Alonso and Schumacher led off 1-2 and it looked like the standard Ferrari strategy in action. The race was looking like a 3 stopper and Michael would just sit on Fernando's tail and then rip off some fast laps when the Renault took it's first pit stop. But that's when things went out the window. Alonso stayed out so long that Schumacher had to bring his car in first. Now what? The whole Ferrari game plan just went out the window. Well, in the fly, Ferrari switched to a 4 stop strategy. This let Michael take the lead about mid-race and then it was just unreal. Michael whipped off fast lap after fast lap like he was riding a jet. He took a 9 second lead and extended it to 22 seconds within 8 or 9 laps! By the time Alonso brought his Renault in for their third pit stop there was no way to catch the world champion. But that wasn't the last Ferrari surprise. Rubens Barrichello, who had problems during qualifying and started 10th, had worked his way up to 4th behind the other Renault driven by the only other driver to win a race in 2004, Jarno Trulli. Having the French team take 2nd and 3rd at the French GP wouldn't be to bad. But on the last turn of the final lap, Barrichello made a gutsy move inside of Trulli and finished on the podium. Ferrari now has double the points in the Constructors Championship, 158 to the 79 that Renault has. And the only driver with a realistic chance of winning the Drivers Championship at this point is Rubens.

But the season is only half over. Many things could happen. It looks like Renault has a really strong car. BAR-Honda is still carrying a lot of potential. [Side note: Takuma Sato left the race again with a blown engine. IMO, there's definitely something funky about the fact that it's his car blowing up while his teammate Jenson Button hasn't had any engine trouble.] McLaren-Mercedes debut their new chassis, though it didn't seem to help them much.

This Sunday it'll be the British GP at Silverstone. We'll have to see if anyone can come up with something that can keep the German and Italian National anthems from being played after the race for an unprecedented 10th time this season.